, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 97-108
Date: 29 Sep 2007

Role of E-cadherin in the induction of apoptosis of HPV16-positive CaSki cervical cancer cells during multicellular tumor spheroid formation

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Abstract

Multicellular tumor spheroids (MCTS) are three dimensional cell culture systems induced by suspension culture. MCTS are widely used in cancer research because of their similarity to solid tumors. CaSki cells are derived from a metastatic cervical cancer containing human papillomavirus 16 (HPV16). Cell death of CaSki cells in MCTS has been previously reported, and our model is used to better characterize the mechanisms of cell death of HPV16-positive keratinocytes. In this study, we found that apoptosis of CaSki cells was induced by suspension culture along with the formation of MCTS after 24 h of incubation. In suspended CaSki cells, monoclonal antibodies blocking E-cadherin function inhibited MCTS formation and suppressed suspension-induced apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. Western blot for E-cadherin detected upregulation of the authentic 120 kDa band from MCTS of CaSki cells as well as a shorter 100 kDa band. Addition of EGF, whose receptor is known to form a complex with E-cadherin, abrogated apoptosis of suspended CaSki cells in a dose-dependent manner. These findings suggest that E-cadherin-dependent cell–cell contact, directly or indirectly, mediates the signal to undergo apoptosis of CaSki cells during MCTS formation, and thus provides new information on the role of E-cadherin in cervical cancer cell apoptosis.